Digital Power! The New Economy of Attention

Knowledge is power. And attention is a very valuable commodity in our knowledge society. Those who have a lot of both have a lot more: the power to interpret, set standards, prices and much more.

A thought experiment: A kind Santa Claus wants to give you a present, you just have to choose: Not just a car, the whole company: the VW Group, BMW AG, Mercedes-Benz or Tesla Inc,? Before you start feeling like an offspring of the ‚Quandt-family‘, you should check the stock market. How can such a newcomer with a „few“ cars be worth so much more? Is there more to it?

Permanent Industrial Revolution

Something ‚feels‘ very different now. An invisible, barely noticeable, hidden change began back in the 1990s with the invention of a simple Internet access program, the browser: the Internet, which had been around for decades, became available to everyone ever since.

This digital revolution, which started very quietly, is still shaking things up more than many would like, and it won’t stop. Traditional business models are changing fundamentally. Craftsmanship skills are losing their value. And communication in particular – whether private or public – has changed from the ground up.

The first major sign of this change that everyone could see was the rise of a political nobody from the Midwest who wanted to become US president against all the elites. The Obamaelection in 2008 was the first victory of the new digital elite over an „analog shirtlessness“ and made it clear even then how much social media was changing the economy of attention.

What was a topic for political pundits in 2008 has become obvious since Trump, Brexit and lateral thinkers: the competition for interpretative sovereignty has become tougher and works according to constantly changing rules!

In 2016, Donald Trump combined the mechanics of social media with reality TV. In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn was surprisingly successful in the UK in winning an absolute majority from the analog Theresa May using rather simple digital methods. In 2020, Joe Biden managed to find a recipe against Trump. We are just getting used to TikTok and the audio boom with podcasts on every corner.

With AI, or „artificial intelligence“, the next revolution is already looming on the communication horizon. Its consequences cannot yet be fully assessed. But one thing is already clear: AI makes it very easy and very quick to create high-quality media at minimal cost, the authenticity of which is imperceptible to most people. And we will encounter this content everywhere.

The New Economy of Attention

In the past, it was important to impress the mass media in order to gain coverage. Today, this is no longer quite so important.

Those who recognize, acknowledge and follow the laws of the new economy of attention have enormous advantages. In principle, anyone can beat their competitors (and quite cheaply) if they rely too much on the tried and tested.

Only those who are „present“ in the digital world can be successful. But just „being on the Internet“ is no longer enough! If you want to be heard, read, seen or if you want your services to be used or your products to be bought, you can no longer avoid two basic principles,

– Be findable!

– Be recommendable!

Findability / Search

The „gatekeepers of knowledge“, the search engines, respond best to „well-oiled“ digital products that meet the (constantly changing) criteria of Google & Co. Only what „works“ well in terms of content and technology has a chance. And that is a product of work and knowledge. An entire service industry has been established around this „being found“.

Recommendability / Social

For the leverage of social media, it is crucial to prepare EVERYTHING in such a way that it is shared (usually quite spontaneously). This is because network effects and recommendations via social media –  to social is a new verb – can achieve reach that was unimaginable until recently.

An example from the German Huffington Post: The article Der Tag an dem ich aufhört „Beeil Dich“ zu sagen would have flopped with 20,000 readers who came ‚directly‘ to the HuffPost. But this story „ran“ through the net via social media recommendations and reached an impressive 2.3 million readers. A multiple of a weekly magazin’s print run.

„When media changes, society changes“

What sounds very simple is actually very complex: as is so often the case in evolutionary history, new technologies are followed by new cultural techniques. These, in turn, often change a great deal very quietly and inconspicuously!

Cherno Jobatey explains how you can join in

Habits and habits often no longer apply due to digitalization. And this change is progressing everywhere, not just in the media world.

Cherno Jobatey, who has been in the media for many years and long-time publisher of the Huffington Post, explains these new rules of the game.

Anyone, regardless of whether they are a public listed company leader, a medium-sized company or a private individual – in fact anyone with an Internet connection – can take advantage of these new opportunities.

In his presentation, the speaker explains the new economy of attention and uses examples from politics, business, and pop music to illustrate in detail how the balance of power has shifted in the battle for opinion leadership and how you can use the new era to your advantage.

Those who are not digitally involved run the great risk of only having a wallpaper table in the third row on today’s marketplace instead of the centrally located representative market stall they were used to.

And all too often, many do not realize: This brave new world is feasible, easy to use and affordable!

Knowledge is power, nothing will change that. But never have so many been so powerful!